Disco Dog Party

The boat had 4 older men in it. They’d been shark fishing for several hours about a mile and a half off shore near the South Jetty. During that time they’d watched a beautiful sunset, had a few beers, and caught several large sharks. It had gotten dark, although the moon was rising and shining through the light cloud cover. They were talking and enjoying being so far away from the pressures of their daily lives and all the hustle and bustle of the city. There was a gentle lapping of the calm, summer water on the hull of the boat and occasionally they could hear the cry of seagulls.

Suddenly a loud voice broke the silence. “YO! ANY OF YOU DUDES SEEN A DISCO PARTY OUT HERE?!!!” They were startled and shined a light in the general direction of the voice. Shiny gold chains and a medallion shone off a bare chest and a gold lame’ shirt. They sat in shocked silence while the young man paddled past them and out towards the end of the jetty.

Back in younger (and wilder) days on the Beach Patrol we had an annual tradition. Right after the hectic 4th of July weekend we would celebrate by holding an elaborate party called the “Disco Dog Party”.

The rules were that you had to get to the lighthouse on the end of the two mile long South Jetty without using any type of motorized craft and had to wear 70’s clothes. We would use a two person surf boat to haul the heavy equipment like a grill, tape player (this was before CDs), charcoal, food, etc on the 4 mile round trip journey. All the participants would have to paddle out and back on boards, surf-skis, and kayaks. Occasionally, someone would bring a small sailboat.

This particular night we had just finished the hot dogs and were eating them as night came on. The music was cranking and someone turned on a battery powered disco ball they’d brought out there somehow. The lights were shining off of the posts of the lighthouse and some of the guards were starting to dance as Troy Stevens paddled up shouting, “Hey I made it. I think I freaked some shark fishermen out about a half mile back!”

Turns out he did more than “freak them out”. One of the men in the boat was a Texas State Senator, who made calls to the Coast Guard and the county Sheriff. Needless to say, that was the last of the Disco Dog Parties, ending a 9 year long streak of this tradition.

Back in the days of the US Lifesaving Service Saturdays were reserved for parties. My Grandma told me stories about how she and her friends would row boats out to the partially sunken cement ship over by Pelican Island back in the ’20’s. I guess this was the latest iteration of young water people celebrating, but at least they didn’t have a Disco King paddling around in the middle of the ocean!